|Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China|
|Special administrative region|
Location of Hong Kong within China
|Status||Special administrative region|
|Ethnic groups (2016)|
|Government||Devolved executive-led autonomous system within socialist republic|
|36 deputies (of 2,924)|
|Autonomy within the People's Republic of China|
|26 January 1841|
|29 August 1842|
|18 October 1860|
|9 June 1898|
|25 December 1941|
to 30 August 1945
1 July 1997
|2,755 km2 (1,064 sq mi) (168th)|
• Water (%)
|59.8 (1,649 km2; 637 sq mi)|
• 2017 estimate
|6,777/km2 (17,552.3/sq mi) (4th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$482.101 billion (44th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|$364.782 billion (35th)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2016)|| 53.9|
|HDI (2015)|| 0.917|
very high · 12th
|Currency||Hong Kong dollar (HK$) (HKD)|
|Time zone||Hong Kong Time (UTC+8)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||HK|
Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; Cantonese: [hœ́ːŋ.kɔ̌ːŋ] ( listen)), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in South China. With over 7.4 million Hongkongers of various nationalities[c] in a territory of 1,104 square kilometres (426 sq mi), Hong Kong is the fourth-most densely populated region in the world.
Hong Kong was formerly a colony of the British Empire, after Qing China ceded Hong Kong Island at the conclusion of the First Opium War in 1842. Originally a lightly populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the most significant financial centres and trade ports in the world. With the exception of the Second World War, during which the colony was occupied by the Empire of Japan, Hong Kong remained under British control until 1997, when it was returned to China. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system apart from mainland China.
As the world's seventh-largest trading entity, the territory's legal tender, Hong Kong dollar, is the 13th-most traded currency. Hong Kong's services-dominated economy is characterised by competitive simple taxation and supported by its common law judicial system. Although the city boasts one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it suffers severe income inequality.
The territory features the most skyscrapers in the world, surrounding Victoria Harbour, which lies in the centre of the city's dense urban region. It has a very high Human Development Index ranking and the seventh-highest life expectancy in the world. Over 90% of its population makes use of well-developed public transportation. Seasonal air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates in winter.
The name of the territory was first spelled as "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780, and originally referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between British sailors and local fishermen. The source of the romanised name is not known, but it is generally believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng. The name translates to "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour". "Fragrance" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's fresh water influx from the Pearl River or to the incense from factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export before Victoria Harbour developed. Sir John Davis, the second colonial Governor, offered an alternative origin, claiming that the name was derived from "Hoong-keang" (meaning "red torrent"), reflecting the colour of soil through which a waterfall on the island flowed. Regardless of origin, the Treaty of Nanking indicates Hong Kong Island using this name, which has referred to the entire territory ever since.
The simplified name Hong Kong was frequently used by 1810, though it was also written as a single word. Hongkong was common until 1926, when the government officially adopted the two-word form. Some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.